Biological fate and clinical implications of arginine metabolism in tissue healing

Wound Repair Regen. Jul-Aug 2006;14(4):376-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2006.00151.x.


Since its discovery in 1987, many biological roles (including wound healing) have been identified for nitric oxide (NO). The gas is produced by NO synthase using the dibasic amino acid L-arginine as a substrate. It has been established that a lack of dietary L-arginine delays experimental wound healing. Arginine can also be metabolized to urea and ornithine by arginase-1, a pathway that generates L-proline, a substrate for collagen synthesis, and polyamines, which stimulate cellular proliferation. Herein, we review subjects of interest in arginine metabolism, with emphasis on the biochemistry of wound NO production, relative NO synthase isoform activity in healing wounds, cellular contributions to NO production, and NO effects and mechanisms of action in wound healing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arginine / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Nitric Oxide
  • Arginine